Assuming I want to see unprocessed messages every time I do anything with email is like making me trudge out to my home mailbox every time I take a leak, turn on the oven, fold a towel, or do any of the 500,000 other things I can easily accomplish without asking for new information.
Every mail client ever misses Merlin’s point. There’s more than one thing that we do with email, and every time we do one of them, we have to pay the distraction tax of seeing our inbox. The way to fix this is to completely separate processing new things from the other tasks - composing new mail, referring to temporarily useful mail, and searching for old mail.
I like Merlin’s approach of having a separate “app” for each view onto his mail. I do wonder if this kind of thing would catch on. This feels like an extension of something I wrote a while ago, the webmail-only browser, where the idea is to identify a single task that you need to wall off from distraction, and make a separate app just for that.